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 Category:  Western Fiction
  Posted: January 3, 2021      Views: 62
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I've had some interesting years on this big blue dot in the solar system. Syracuse area for the past twenty years. Twelve years in Texas. Married for twenty six years. Five children and two grandchildren.

Since winning a publishing contr - more...

He is an accomplished novelist and is currently at the #14 spot on the rankings.

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Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
This work has reached the exceptional level

Chapter 24 of the book The Spirit of the Wind
Jane is taken captive but plots her escape with help
"Laying down with the Enemy" by forestport12

Jane, a newlywed homesteader from Nebraska lost her first husband. She's fought to keep her land, determined to leave her son a heritage, if she can survive the land and her captivity.

I slept outside near the brutish woman's wigwam tied to a stake with only a deerskin to cover me. Her husband slipped inside during the night, waking me and looking at me, as if I should be his prize The evening cold seeped into my bones. I curled into a ball and imagined myself in a cocoon enough to dream I was somewhere else. A sleeping mind was my only escape.

The morning dew and arch of the sun over the mountains brought me back to my captivity. Indians stirred from their tepees. As I shifted awake and spied my realities, the pain in my shoulders surfaced like balls of fire. I licked my blistered and cracked lips for want of water.

My heart leaped as I watched Little Deer, whose Christian name was Mary, coming toward me with her husband, Standing Bear. I hadn't learned much, but was made to believe, she too wanted to escape. The other thing I knew, was that if a woman dared escape, if caught, she was sure to be tortured and killed.

Standing Bear was young and athletic. It appeared he had some influence over me. He offered me a stern look but saved his ire for the sleeping couple inside the tepee. He pulled back the flap and argued with the woman and the husband next to her.

Little Deer took the moment explain why her husband was upset. "My husband wanted you to be kept inside. They will council between the two tribes on who will have you. This is good that they argue over you. Pray to our God, the Arapahoe do not take you. We are in the Brule tribe. The one who sleeps inside is Stomping Bull, son of the Brule chief. He wants you for himself. That is why the woman who is with him is upset, but mostly we think she's been touched with madness."

I thought, oh good, not only was the woman jealous and hated whites, she's also touched in the head.

Her husband withdrew from the tent with much shouting. "Come." He crouched down, pulled his knife and cut the rope from my hands. He motioned for me to go inside. I complied and opened the flap. The Indian with sleep in his eyes, grunted. He offered to keep me warm. I resisted. He smelled like a wet dog. I turned to Little Deer with pleading eyes.

Little Deer stuck her head inside. "I will return before the sun sets."

"My name is Jane McCord. I own a homestead near the sandhills of Nebraska."

Her husband looked frustrated. He held her arm tight as tourniquet. But she resisted him for a moment and told me. "I've convinced the chiefs through my husband to come and care for you. My husband is respected by the chiefs, and I've earned his trust."

Tears swelled in my eyes. "Please, help me. I've a husband who hid and a child at home."

"I am a Yankton Sioux of Minnesota. But my father was a captain in the army who died in the civil war. I was raised by my mother and the love of a minister and his family at Christian mission. But I was taken during the 1862 Minnesota uprising. The starving tribe believed they were cheated from their land and did not want their people to die in the winter without their revenge. They killed the whites. But some despised us halfbreeds more. They spared my life and sold me to the Brule to punish my Indian family."

Standing Bear twisted her arm, and she was forced to go. I tried to hold my tears and push down my fear. I clung to the notion she was a God sent angel.

I hoped for mercy, left alone with my sorry caregivers. And even in the sour faced squaw seemed tame while her husband fed himself on some jerked buffalo. He offered me some if I would sit. I decided to play the humble captive. The hunger had eaten a hole in my pride.

He used sign language and beat on his chest, proud of his given name. "Stomping Bull." I had a newfound admiration for how the Indian names seemed to foretell one's personality. He examined my hair and teeth. Before he checked parts unknown, I swatted his hand. He in turn slapped my face. He left in a huff and stomped away just like his name. Then he muttered a few English curse words. It seemed whiskey and cuss words were introduced the same time as bullets flew.

The brutish squaw sat in a corner and hugged her knees, rocking back and forth, looking at me with disgust in her eyes. I worried she would sooner slit my throat. Suddenly, she stood with a willow branch in her hand.

At first I cowered and curled into a ball, as she lashed me. Her fierce anger turned demonic. She put all her momentum into each strike until I felt it cut through what was left of my dress into my skin. Then I don't know what happened to me. Anger erupted in me and overflowing, consuming any fear. I stood up and grabbed the whipping stick from her hand.

I lashed the squaw across the face and must have hit her dozen times until she fell to her knees, screaming with her hands over her head. "How do you like it, now? How's it feel old maid?"

Her husband and some other men rushed inside. The woman ranted on about my uprising. I expected the heathens to drag me out and punish me severely or even kill me. But their countenance changed. They smiled at each other amused that I subdued the mad squaw. It seemed I earned a notch of respect. And from that moment I was given enough space to lick my wounds and pray for an escape.

The squaw brought me water and fed me. I decided my best options were to make no complaints and act tough as a square nail. But the evening couldn't come soon enough, when it finally did, Little Deer opened the flap and sat next to me with herbs for my wounds along with other young squaws.

As the women gossiped in their own tongue, Little Deer whispered in my ear that she has a plan of escape with little fear of being understood. I learned she'd suffered for two years and through her patience, she'd earned enough trust. "The Lord has promised, he will not give us more than we are able to bear."

Book of the Month contest entry

The book continues with White Slave. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
I highly recommend the true life narrative of Fanny Kelly taken by the Sioux Indians. Although I did not use parts of her story, she is singled out for unwavering faith in the face of horrific circumstances. Truly inspiring true story.
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